The final draft of Sackville’s five-year strategic plan calls on the town to conduct an annual survey of residents to measure their satisfaction with services and taxes and to identify things that need improvement.
Town Council heard the recommendation at its meeting on Monday during a 33-minute presentation by Eric Riordon, a consultant with The Sharp Group.
Council awarded the Charlottetown-based marketing and planning company a $26,000 contract in April to come up with the 2017-2022 strategic plan.
Riordon told council that the new plan is based on extensive consultations including meetings with councillors and town staff, meetings with more than 30 community leaders and students at Mount Allison University as well as a public open house and an online survey that received 164 responses.
“In our experience, based on per capita, that’s an excellent response,” Riordon said. “Those 164 people are the people that care about Sackville’s strategy, so their opinions are important.”
Riordon described an ongoing, annual survey as “a pivotal tool” for engaging residents in the life of the town and getting feedback about municipal services.
He recommended reporting back to residents on what the town is doing to act on the results of each annual survey.
Positive business environment
The proposed new strategic plan recommends a wide-range of measures that are usually part of such planning documents.
For example, it calls for the promotion of a positive business environment along with efforts to attract more small and medium-sized businesses. It also urges the town to attract and retain young families, create student job opportunities and encourage elderly residents to participate in community activities.
Riordon noted that the online survey showed that respondents rated flood control as their highest priority. As a result, the proposed strategic plan calls on the town to continue with present flood control projects while enhancing measures to manage storm water and reporting to citizens regularly on the quality of the town’s drinking water.
After the presentation, Mayor Higham said council would be going through the new strategic plan over the next month or so. Councillors are also expected to discuss it at their public meeting on February 6th. A vote on whether to adopt the plan could also be held in February.